The 2022 FIH Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup in Potchefstroom finally got underway last week after it was postponed at the end of last year.
The decision to postpone the tournament came because of the rising Covid-19 numbers in South Africa at the end of last year, and one can argue that it was somewhat of a blessing in disguise as now more spectators are allowed to attend.
Hoër Meisieskool Oranje in Bloemfontein, which is arguably one of the best hockey schools in the country, boasts three old girls representing South Africa at the tournament.The three players representing the Junior Proteas at the World Cup are Saré Laubscher, Mikkela le Roux and Jacolene McLaren. No other school has more than two players in the national side.
Laubscher and Le Roux are also former captains of the Oranje first team. The trio were teammates at school in 2017 and 2018, while Laubscher and Le Roux have been presenting the Junior Proteas since their matric year.
In addition to the trio representing the City of Roses at the World Cup, Luke Makeleni is the assistant coach of the Junior Proteas. Makeleni is the head coach of the University of the Free State Kovsies.
On Friday, South Africa lost 3-0 to England in the opening match of the World Cup at North-West University, but bounced back nicely on Monday with a 1-0 victory over Ireland in Pool B. This meant that South Africa advanced to the quarter-finals where they will be up against the Netherlands on Friday morning at 11:15. – MORGAN PIEK